The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration have released details of the cuts they will make if mandated budget reductions from “sequestration” take effect March 1. The likelihood of Congress acting to prevent sequestration appeared to be dimming last week.
Transportation in the United States
Timothy Hershman, a Kona, Hawaii, resident, was indicted by a federal grand jury last week for falsely reporting a potential hijacking aboard an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 en route to Seattle from Kona. Hershman called the FBI office in Honolulu January 17 and reported a hijacker might be aboard the aircraft, which caused the Oregon Air National Guard to scramble two F-16s to escort the aircraft to a safe arrival at Seattle, where the hoax was discovered.
A working group that counted 16 representatives from general aviation organizations, including NBAA, submitted a list of proposed revisions late last week to the Transportation Security Administration’s security guidance for GA airports. The document, originally published by the agency in 2004, contains voluntary guidelines and recommendations for GA airport owners, operators and users to address aviation security concepts, technology and enhancements.
Cleveland Regional Jetport held its grand opening on January 25 in Cleveland, Tenn. Intended to replace nearby Hardwick Field, the $42 million project was completed in two years. According to Mark Fidler, the new airport’s director of operations and marketing, Hardwick required replacement because it was cost prohibitive for the city to acquire surrounding residential properties needed to expand the runway beyond its 3,300 feet.
When its new FBO facility opens in early April, the Henriksen Jet Center at Houston Executive Airport will feature the world’s largest aircraft arrivals canopy. The 32,800-sq-ft structure is large enough to provide shelter for a pair of Boeing Business Jets parked side-by-side. The FBO has operated from temporary trailers since its inception in 2006. The new 22,500-sq-ft terminal at the privately owned business aviation airport will offer 24-hour aircraft fueling, ground handling operations, rental and crew cars, crew lounge, catering services and complimentary wireless Internet access.
The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (Arsa) has launched a new survey to measure the impact of the ban on new foreign repair station certificates. The ban is the result of the U.S. Congress prohibiting the FAA from acting on foreign repair station certificate applications submitted after Aug. 3, 2008, because the Transportation Security Administration had not finalized repair station security rules.
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) for Chicago and its surrounding region has publicly charged United Airlines and American Airlines with running “sham” business operations conceived to circumvent city and RTA sales taxes. In a lawsuit filed against United last week, the RTA–a municipal corporation of government that oversees the Chicago area’s public transportation departments–claimed that the airline established shell offices in the town of Sycamore, Illinois, where it pays a total tax rate of 8 percent.
Rising sea levels and extreme weather events attributed to global climate change will increase the flood risk to airports and other transportation infrastructure in coastal regions of the U.S., according to the draft report of a government advisory committee. The trend over time will reduce the reliability and capacity of the transportation system, the study warns.
The FAA has announced a number of taxiway changes at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). The changes, which became effective last week, rename taxiways “ZC” as “AA,” “ZD” as “L1,” “ZE” as “BB” and “ZF” as “CC.” Looking ahead, the FAA reminded users that on May 2 Runway 10-28 will be redesignated Runway 10L-28R as the City of Chicago prepares to open the airport’s new south Runway 10R-28L later this year.
Pentastar Aviation’s maintenance facility at Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Connecticut has received FAA FAR 145 satellite repair station certification. Pentastar Aviation’s satellite repair station certification reflects the expansion of maintenance services from the original repair station at Oakland County International Airport, Mich., where the MRO has maintained heavy jets, including Challengers, Falcons and Gulfstreams, for nearly 50 years. Pentastar also has a facility at Van Nuys Airport in California.